1. We live for the big challenge.
And the bigger, the better. Virgin America is a good example. Over the past five and a half years, Eleven has been helping the start-up airline elbow its way into markets long dominated by the likes of United, American, and other legacy carriers. Our newest integrated campaign is raising awareness and growing business in tough-to-crack markets like Austin and Newark.
2. We play well with others.
Ad agencies are notoriously resistant to working with outside partners or in-house creatives and strategists. Grouchy, even. But collaboration is at the core of Eleven’s culture. In fact, for eight years we’ve partnered with Apple’s in-house creatives to develop a strong global brand.
3. We have a rule about clients.
Rules are the enemy of creativity, so we tend to avoid them. But there is one rule we won’t budge on: Eleven only works with brands we admire. It’s not out of arrogance, or even altruism. It’s really just smart business. Our reputation is only as good as the best work we create, and the best work we create has always been made for brands we genuinely admire. That’s why we love working with Adidas—and every other brand you’ll find on our client roster.
4. We don’t feel confined in small spaces.
Eleven’s core philosophy is summed up in two words: Everything matters. The way people come to feel about a brand is shaped by all the different interactions they have with it. Not just through big-budget TV campaigns and web takeovers, but also through more humble means: banner ads and bus panels, emails and e-newsletters, postcards and package design. Everything matters to the consumer, so everything matters to us.
5. We have more than one tone.
At Eleven, we believe the tonality of the things we make should reflect your brand, not ours. So while some agencies have a style all their own, we have many. AAA, for instance, was looking for a new campaign to raise their profile and refresh their image. The result was unlike anything you’ll find in the insurance category.
6. We don’t play favorites.
Some agencies are all about the TV spot. Others gravitate to digital. Still others feel most at home with print. Us? We just want to be in the right place at the right time. We take a “media neutral” approach: We’ll go wherever it makes the most sense for our clients to be seen. For Virgin America, we made a film. And not just any film—the first film shot entirely at 35,000 feet. It was a piece of branded content that premiered at the L.A. Film Festival, where those L.A. hipsters hang.
7. We make products too.
We love making stuff. Yes, even products. So when Union Bank needed an online checking account configurator, we jumped right in. In fact, our developers went from prototype to product in just six weeks.
8. We never had to ‘go digital.’
Eleven has been there in a big way since we opened our doors in 1999. Not just with banner ads, but also with mobile and social media programs, search marketing, web videos, websites, and even a robot.
9. We’re optimists.
We like to think of ourselves as a “glass half full” agency. So even when a brand is facing challenges that seem to be beyond its control, we love to prove otherwise. For instance, when Union Bank was facing a skeptical consumer who wasn’t looking to hear from a bank or about a bank, we found a believable (even likable) way to share their story.
10. We love a good story.
The more pervasive marketing becomes in our culture, the better consumers are getting at tuning it out. But everyone loves a good story told well. Our job is to help brands find their own unique stories and tell them in irresistible ways. For Sun Valley, we discovered that what makes “The Original Mountain Town” so original are the people who live there—the real curators of the brand. Our film series helps the rest of us see Sun Valley as more than just another place with snow.
11. We’re (officially) nice.
Eleven has twice been picked by the San Francisco Business Times for its annual list of Best Places to Work. We don’t mention this for the bragging rights, though (that wouldn’t be very nice, would it?). We mention this because there’s a tangible, bottom-line benefit to our clients in the unique type of culture Eleven has built: Talented people want to work here, and the best tend to stay here.